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PIANO OPERA FINAL FANTASY IV/V/VI Live Stream Interview Wrap-Up

PIANO OPERA FINAL FANTASY IV/V/VI Live Stream Interview Wrap-Up

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Did you happen to tune in to the PIANO OPERA FINAL FANTASY IV/V/VI USTREAM interview with Nobuo Uematsu and pianist Hiroyuki Nakayama about the album tonight? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t, as I only found out about it today myself, but about 450 fans tuned into the Famitsu-exclusive stream to hear the interview along with samples from the album.

We have a lot of info for you courtesy of Justin Pfeiffer who I dragged in to listen on OSV’s behalf. Hit the jump for details!

The stream started with the MC entering the recording studio. The place looks pretty nice with red brick walls and wood floors. Uematsu was sporting a nice button-up shirt, and Nakayama was seated at the piano. They engaged in a lengthy discussion of the album while streaming original sound version samples in the background, hinting at the pieces that will be featured on the album. After some commercials for upcoming releases, they again went into the studio and played actual sample recordings of several of the tracks that were mentioned which was a really nice treat.

So, on to the discussion. They talked about the importance of melody to the early Final Fantasy titles, and noted that while they’re still recording, all the arrangements are completed and they’re almost finished recording. There will be 12 tracks on the album covering various styles/emotions, and it won’t feature only popular songs, but also minor ones that should surprise fans.

In terms of what was picked, they took into consideration the scene that the music was attached to more than the piece of music itself. They thought about whether the piece had been arranged before, the overall feeling of the piece, if it would be good for piano, and how fans would respond to a piano-only arrangement if the piece had previously been performed by an orchestra.

After general comments, they delved into the individual titles, playing original versions of tracks in the background while the MC asked Nakayama to spontaneously perform some melodies for fun. They discussed the level of difficulty of the arrangements and whether or not they’re actually playable, with Nakayama admitting that he’s worried about a few of them, even when Uematsu presents the ideas to him.

Now, on to the individual titles and arrangements:

Final Fantasy IV

First, the “Final Fantasy IV Main Theme” was previewed, including deep bass notes and a fast-paced fluttering melody that was really quite adventurous. I was impressed with Nakayama’s playing. Next, “Troian Beauty,” one of my all-time favorite compositions by Uematsu, sported an elegant arrangement that slowly transitioned into a staccato waltz that didn’t disappoint. Finally, “Theme of Love” was previewed, staying relatively true to the original source.

Final Fantasy V

“Home Sweet Home” is a nice surprise, coming as a nice folky town theme. The arrangement was slow and soothing. The “Main Theme,” on the other hand, was very dynamic, ranging from courageous to uncertain with lovely flourishes throughout. There are also plans to include “Clash on the Big Bridge.”

Final Fantasy VI

“Searching for Friends” will get a nice swinging piano arrangement that was probably one of the best that was previewed on the program tonight, while “Dancing Mad” will get a whopping 10-15 minute arrangement that all agreed would be “impressive if pulled off.” Finally, “SAVE THEM!” is planned to be featured, which has always been one of my favorites, so I’m excited about that. They were considering including the opera scene, but didn’t have space for the 30-minute long piece.
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They closed with preview traielrs for Battle SQ, Beer SQ, and SQ Chips2 and thanked everyone for listening and urged everyone to pick up the CD when it’s released on May 16, 2012.

Overall, I’m kind of surprised by the straightforwardness of some of the arrangements given that they’re creating this album for titles that already have individual piano collections. Some of the arrangements sounded pretty fresh, but we’ll have to wait and see what some of these surprises are and judge come this May.

Let us know what you think of the description of some of these arrangements, the necessity of such an album, and whether or not you appreciate little preview events like this from Square Enix.

[Special thanks to Justin Pfeiffer for translating parts of the interview]

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